A stroll with stars and dew on the Walk of Fame.

Sibiu has some stairs that carry you down to one of its vessels of its green heart. The straight line of the alley guides your steps and slower your pace. The surrounding greenery, with linden and thorn trees fills you with peace and drips with dew towards the middle, where a number of stars begin to rise. As in Hollywood, you are among stars, great names in the world of theater, dance, and performing arts.

The Walk of Fame in the Citadel Park started in 2013, when the International Theatre Festival in Sibiu (FITS) celebrated 20 years of existence. The stars on the alley lay a symbolic course between Thalia Hall, the first Romanian theater built in 1788 and the present National Theatre “Radu Stanca”. Placed in the heart of the city between the first and second wall of defense, the stars and personalities who were honored with such a distinction, will “conquer” the city and become “citizens of the citadel”. The Walk of Fame is a permanent place of celebration, of public recognition of those personalities who contributed to the cultural and artistic development of the city. Attracted by the similarity to the Walk of Fame on Vine Street, Hollywood, tourists come here bearing their cameras to fetch snapshots and glitter, But Sibiu’s Walk of Fame has its own identity, being first and foremost a cultural event that recognizes cultural and artistic merits and a means of connecting the public with great personalities, in person or through their works at FITS. The Star Award ceremony and the Gala are a celebration that gathers the community, the artistic and social partners of the festival.

Sibiu’s Walk of Fame has its own identity, being first and foremost a cultural event that recognizes cultural and artistic merits and a means of connecting the public with great personalities…

Beneath a young mans’ sneakers, with long hair, holding a skateboard rises the corner of a star: “Eugenio Barba”, he whispers and turns to his companion who is pulling the leash of a sleepy bulldog. “Hey, do you know who this is?” “I don’t know him, but I know others,” the boy answers sullenly. Eugenio Barba, the first unveiled star of the alley is a renowned name in the world of theater. Director and theorist, Eugenio Barba is the creator and founder of Theatre Odin – “laboratory-theatre” of self-discovery, of vocation. The series of stars from 2013 proceed with Ariane Mnouchkine – director of Théâtre du Soleil Paris, Declan Donnellan – film and theater director, author and co-founder along with Nick Ormerod of the theater company Cheek by Jowl and associate director of the National Theatre London, Nakamura Kanzaburo XVIII – Japanese Kabuki theater actor (awarded posthumously). Contemporary stars are also present: you may have heard the name of George Banu, or seen him in bookstores in Sibiu, at book launches or speaking at a conference about theater.  The opera and film director, Silviu Purcărete is somehow at home here, since his mesmerizing show “Faust” is always playing with a full house in Sibiu.

The steps sometimes get lost among the names of the stars. Just like in Hollywood – some names are well known to the bystanders, others less or not at all. In 2014, among the seven stars that completed the alley, two names stand out due to their familiarity, being important names in the history of Sibiu: Martin Hochmeister (awarded posthumously), founder of the first theater in modern Romania, in 1788 in Sibiu; Radu Stanca (awarded posthumously), founder of the New Theatre of Sibiu in the twentieth century who was also an actor, director, poet, essayist, cultural animator and leader of Sibiu Literary Circle. Once you’ve stepped on Gigi Căciuleanu’s star, your feet may feel the need to dance. Furthermore, in 2014 there were other celebrities who became “citizens of the citadel”: Peter Brook, director, creator of the International Centre for Theatre Research, Lev Dodin, director, People’s Artist, founder of the Small Theatre (Malâi Teatr) in Leningrad, Peter Stein, theatre and opera director, leader of the Schaubühne in Berlin, Krystian Lupa, Polish theater director and designer; winner of the Europe Theatre Prize (2009).

Each new edition of the festival can turn into, without even knowing, that lesson that brings you knowledge and emotion, that dew that regenerates your steps and takes you closer to art and culture.

The stars of 2015 are still fresh in our memories. One might remember the worldly fairy of the French director Joël Pommerat – today’s “Cinderella” or the hysterical laugh and the inner cry after the performance of “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road”, product of Neil’s LaBute workshop with Romanian actors. Or maybe you are still haunted by the unseen world that crushes societies and destinies in “The Ghost is Here” directed by the Japanese playwright and actor Kazuyoshi Kushida. Do you still remember the pale reflection of light from the “Book of Job”, interpreted and staged by the Lithuanian director Eimuntas Nekrosius? Or perhaps you merely recall the endless loneliness of an one man performance in a single act, memorably interpreted by the Austrian actor (also film director) – Klaus Maria Brandauer. Each new edition of the festival can turn into, without even knowing, that lesson that brings you knowledge and emotion, that dew that regenerates your steps and takes you closer to art and culture.

The 23rd edition of the Theatre Festival will lay out seven new stars on the Walk of Fame. The following personalities will be awarded a star: Victor Rebenciuc, well-known Romanian theater and film actor, Luk Perceval, Belgian director, director of the Thalia Theater in Hamburg, Thomas Ostermeier, director, artistic director of the Schaubühne in Berlin,associate artist at Festival Avignon (2004), Christoph Marthaler, Swiss director and musician, associate artist at the Avignon Festival (2010) and Yevgeny Mironov, film and theater actor, People’s Artist, artistic director of the State Theatre of Nations, Alvis Hermanis, director and artistic director of Jaunais Rigas Teatris (New Theatre Riga), Tim Robbins, actor, winner of the Oscar and the Golden Globe, director, artistic director of the experimental theater company The Actors’ Gang. As the news about the awarded stars spreads, the first reactions appear: “I feel much honored to be granted a star on the Walk of Fame. The neighborhood to so many famous names intimidate me, but also make me feel proud. I accept this star as a precious gift to commemorate 60 years of uninterrupted activity in theater and film“, says Victor Rebenciuc, the first actor still alive to receive a star, to the organizers of Sibiu Theatre Festival.

Hundreds of small, heavy, curious or flameless steps are made every day through the Citadel Park. Sibiu’s version of the Walk of Fame has something that stops you from walking in that perky way as if you were on the red carpet. It shares something from the nature of medieval fortresses, of the silence of ancient walls, it invites you to meditate. And every time, in your imagination, the entire universe begins with a corner of a star and with the question “Hey, do you know who this is?”

photo: TNRS archive

English translation: Alexandra Coroi